UPDATE 2-LifePoint misses revenue estimates, cuts FY forecasts

(Adds forecast, analyst comment, shares)

Aug 1 - LifePoint Health Inc's quarterly revenue fell short of analysts' estimates due to fewer-than-expected patient visits and the hospital operator cut its full-year forecasts.

Hospital operators have reported fewer patient visits so far in the quarter, with the largest hospital operator HCA Healthcare Inc last week noting its results were challenged by softer growth in patient numbers.

Shares of hospital operators have been volatile as President Donald Trump and Republicans have so far failed in their efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act, which benefited the companies by expanding insurance coverage.

LifePoint said equivalent admissions, which include patients who stay in the hospital overnight and those treated on an outpatient basis, fell 1.5 percent in the second quarter ended June 30.

Piper Jaffray analysts said the company continued the trend of fewer-than-anticipated adjusted admissions growth following HCA, Universal Health Services Inc and Community Health Systems Inc.

LifePoint lowered its full-year revenue forecast to $6.43 billion to $6.5 billion from $6.5 billion to $6.6 billion.

It also cut its full-year profit forecast to $3.92 per share to $4.20 per share from $4.05 per share to $4.34 per share.

However, LifePoint shares were up 1.8 percent at $60.40 in early trading on Tuesday after the company's earnings of 96 cents per share beat analysts' estimate by 6 cents.

Piper Jaffray analysts noted that the reduction in the forecast gives them concern for margin expansion for the remainder of the year.

LifePoint, which operates 72 hospitals, reported net sales at $1.59 billion - nearly flat versus the year-ago period and missed the average analyst estimate of $1.64 billion, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Net income attributable to LifePoint Health rose to $42.5 million, or $1.03 per share, in the second quarter, from $16.9 million, or 38 cents per share, a year earlier.

(Reporting by Akankshita Mukhopadhyay in Bengaluru; Editing by Saumyadeb Chakrabarty and Martina D'Couto)